Growing Food In a Plug-In Urban Farm Pod
January 19, 2016 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
What if you could grow your own food in the city on a farm that automatically cultivated and harvested the food for you? That’s the vision of the designers of the “living” Urban Farm Pod, a new concept for grow their own produce where agriculture is non-existent or scarce.
Designed by New York City-based Terreform, an urban socio-ecological design laboratory, the prototype pod, say the designers, “turns the food system itself into a visible artifact, a bioinformatic message system, and a functional space.”
The Urban Farm Pod’s design is based on the principles of agronomy–a holistic approach to agriculture which integrates soil and plant sciences with related disciplines such as ecology, entomology, climatology, and economics. The main agronomic objectives are to grow crops effectively (and profitably) with special consideration to conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.
Symbiosis of Biological and Mechanical
Like many of the planters with built-in monitoring systems, The Urban Farm Pod employs a digital monitoring platform relays specific plant health information via the web.
Terraform’s vision for future iterations of the pod involves structures which grow naturally over time. Within what they refer to as “a new form of mediated arboreal culture,” the designers foresee integrating biological and mechanical elements to transform the object into one that grows and evolves symbiotically.
Flat Packed, Eco-Friendly, and Adaptable
Made of reclaimed flat-packed materials, the pod contains a fully operable sub-irrigation system and its shaped foam panels serve as sleeves for the potting elements and agronomy tissue culture for micropropagation.
And these are flexible pods: users can select from a number of optional systems to adapt to different locations, lighting conditions, and use requirements.
The pods are part of Terraform’s Plug-In Ecology project which they describe as exploring “healthy biological exchanges with urban dwellers, to contribute to the life of urban ecosystems that mediate between autonomy and community.”
Photos via Terraform.